An organic farm estate in the Cotswolds is set to become the first UK producer to offer selenium-enriched eggs.

“The first reason for doing this is that we are selenium deficient in this area, so it is good for the chickens,” says organic egg producer Patrick Bourns of Barrington Park Estate, who manages the 16,000-bird unit in Oxfordshire. “Another reason is to make a difference in selling organic eggs in the current market.

“We want to stay ahead of the competition and also offer our customers something special.”

Selenium is a trace mineral acknowledged to be essential to good health. Deficiency of selenium in people has been associated with increased risk of cancer, heart disease, viral infections, depression, and reproduction and immune function problems.

Mr Bourns adds: “I started thinking about it six months ago. You have to think ahead and look to the future – you can’t be complacent in this market.”

The selenium added to the birds’ feed is made by global feed company Alltech.

“It will support our product we don’t want to lose sales,” says Mr Bourns. “We want consistency and this all adds up to a level business.”

Customers are not being asked to pay more for the selenium-enriched eggs, which are due to be promoted in a few weeks’ time, but the move will add value to the product. The eggs will be marketed in newly designed boxes.

Barrington Park Estate

  • Mixed farm of 2833ha (7000 acres)
  • 16,000 organic layers
  • Set to launch selenium-enriched egg